August 22, 2018 / 8:56 AM / 3 months ago

Japan regulatory chief urges regional banks to get serious

TOKYO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Japan’s top financial regulator said management at some regional banks needed to get their act together, warning that they were “not considering seriously” how to build a sustainable business model despite gloomy prospects for the industry.

“We have been telling them to consider action and make judgments on their own, not just because we tell them to do so,” Toshihide Endo, commissioner of the Financial Services Agency, said in an interview on Wednesday.

“They shouldn’t blame the Bank of Japan” for their woes, added Endo, who took up his post in July. “They should explore how to survive under the current situation. They shouldn’t just sit and wait for the BOJ to change its monetary policy.”

The comments come as many of Japan’s roughly 100 regional banks grapple with diminishing returns from their traditional lending business, hit by a low-interest-rate environment amid the BOJ’s ultra-loose monetary policy.

A shrinking population outside the biggest cities is also hurting business.

On cryptocurrency exchanges, he said the FSA was trying to strike a balance between protecting consumers and promoting technological innovation. (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka and Takahiko Wada; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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